Texas Governor Greg Abbott is now under scrutiny for his decision not to pursue a case against Trump University at the time when he was still attorney general.
John Owens, former Deputy Chief of the attorney general's consumer protection division, has come out to share what transpired in the Trump University investigation the AG conducted.
Owens claimed that the division was all set with the legal action in May of 2010, according to Talking Points Memo. Allegedly, a request was made to draft a complaint against Donald Trump and Trump University on May 6. By May 11, their settlement proposal was already in place.
In a document shared by Gawker, it was revealed that an initial settlement proposal was already in place for the enrollees of Trump University. It included $3.75 million to settle, $1.4 million for the restitution of 39 Texans, and $426,000 as full restitution for 267 Texans.
"We wanted to have a settlement conference on May 19, where we handed them the petition, we handed them our demands, we sat down with the lawyers, and we were going to say, 'Give us X-million dollars or we are going to file this lawsuit, we're going to see you in court,'" said Owens. "And we were denied that opportunity."
The May 19 meeting did not materialize as the team had asked for an extension so they could prepare. When they were trying to reschedule the meeting, they were then told that no meeting would ever happen.
Former Texas Regulator John Owens Said He Was Muzzled For Investigating Trump University https://t.co/S63kJqXKhk Corrupt AG in Texas?Owens claimed that they were told the Trump University case was over.
— JBE (@msjbe20a) June 6, 2016
"And then we got the word, don't reschedule anything, the case is over. Drop it. Close it. We're not going to sue Trump University," he said.
The settlement also did not push through after Trump University decided to pull out of Texas. Subsequently, the office of then-AG, now-Texas governor Abbott, reportedly "dropped the investigation."
Texas governor linked to alleged cover-up of dropped Trump University investigation https://t.co/H9Jg6PmkYu pic.twitter.com/Nf40JGYumWOwens told the Texas Tribune, "It was swept under the rug, and the consumers were left with no one to go to bat for them."
— Gawker (@Gawker) June 8, 2016
Amid the allegations, Texas governor Abbott's spokesman Matt Hirsch claimed that the attorney general's office did what it had to do at the time.
"The Texas Attorney General's office investigated Trump U, and its demands were met — Trump U was forced out of Texas and consumers were protected," said Hirsch.
Nevertheless, much attention has been drawn to the fact that Donald Trump made contributions to Abbott's campaign when he ran for Texas governor. The business mogul gave $25,000 back in July of 2013, and another $10,000 in May of 2014.
Texas Governor Who Forced Regulator To Drop Trump Fraud Case Received Hefty Donation https://t.co/d18CjQ9JJI pic.twitter.com/L8FAeFyT95The contributions were given more than three years after Trump University ended its operations in Texas. This has also lead the Democratic Party to claim that the Texas Governor is "on the corrupt Trump payroll."
— Zaibatsu News Ⓜ️ (@ZaibatsuNews) June 7, 2016
But Abbott's spokesman simply disregarded the claims saying that the buzz being generated about the Texas governor is nothing but a product of the "media's obsession with Donald Trump."
"The unthinkable has happened — the media's obsession with Donald Trump is now leading them to highlight the job then-Attorney General Abbott did in protecting Texas consumers," said Hirsch.
According to Occupy Democrats, Trump University broke Texas state laws as Donald Trump's venture asserted that their "classes were approved continuing education-credit for realtors." This is despite the fact that the Texas Real Estate Commission has not accredited any of the school's courses.
Texas governor Abbott is not the only attorney general whose name is being dragged into the controversy. Florida AG Pam Bondi was also called out for not taking any action on the Trump University case.
Florida AG Pam Bondi sought, got $25k Trump donation before dropping Trump University case:https://t.co/IUlEkpz75x pic.twitter.com/79CbKNPOiKLike Texas governor Abbott, Bondi also received campaign contributions amounting to $25,000, reported NPR. However, hers came from the Trump Foundation, which is the Trump family's foundation.
— SpeedReads (@SpeedReads) June 7, 2016
[Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images]